Sunday, September 11, 2011

Random plant event: Aeschynanthus radicans

It takes a while, granted, but one can propagate Aeschynanthus from individual leaves. My A. speciosus was originally from individual leaves we propagated long ago at work, and I have at least one A. radicans leaf that's rooted and producing new growth now too, so I'm thinking maybe it's a general characteristic of the genus. This particular leaf didn't even take that long (about 3 1/2 months), though as you can see, the others in this pot are taking longer, and there's another pot of leaves where nothing's happened yet, so it's just one leaf out of I think eight. But still.

If you go looking for information about how to propagate Aeschynanthus, almost nobody says anything about this: virtually everyone says stem tip cuttings, and nothing more. (A few sites also suggest seeds or layering.) While it's probably true that stem cuttings will start faster and produce a fuller looking plant sooner than leaves, it's still neat that leaves are an option.

I ran into the website of the North Star African Violet Council Twin Cities (surely "Twin Cities' African Violet Council" wasn't taken already?) while looking around the internet for more on this, and they say that Streptocarpus, Chirita, Saintpaulia, and Petrocosmeas are typically propagated from single leaves. Nautilocalyx are also supposed to be easy to root from leaves, which I'll have to try at some point with my N. forgetii.

Nautilocalyx forgetii.

The genera of gesneriads that don't propagate well from leaves include Episcia (though I've done it, last summer), Columnea, Nematanthus, some Sinningias, and Codonanthe, according to Jon Dixon, the source being quoted by the NSAVCTC. (I'm condensing the list, so if you're interested, head over to the site and read their post.)

Weirdly, I've had better luck at home with Aeschynanthus and Episcia leaf propagation than I've had with Saintpaulia, even though African violets are supposed to be much easier. I don't have any trouble getting African violet leaves to root, but they stop there -- they don't go on to grow new leaves. When we tried doing this at the ex-job, on the other hand, they propagated fine. Sometimes they even propagated when we didn't intend them to. So obviously I'm missing something.

This leaf, for example, fell under a table and rooted in the soil all on its own.

But anyway. There isn't necessarily a lot of practical application for this method, but now you know it can happen.


Carol Ann said...

When my friend Jon Dixon says Episcia, Columnea, Nematanthus, some sinningias, and Codonanthe don't propagate *well* from leaves, he may just mean slow, or not true, or not at all. Episcia may propagate from a leaf, but you may not end up with what you started with because they are so genetically unstable. Of course, that could be fun. Some sinningias may form a blind tuber from a leaf; that is, the tuber has no growing apex, so it will never form its own plant.

As for getting new plants from Saintpaulia leaves, plenty of perlite in the mix should help.

Long Haired Lady Rider said...

Let me get this straight. You have 10 aeschynanthus leaves down... Man you are going to have a lot of aeschynanthus. Unless they all only make one baby vine apiece. Inquiring minds would like to know whether they end up making multiple babies.

I have been told that if you aren't getting babies from a rooted African Violet leaf, clipping off the end of the leaf will induce babies.

mr_subjunctive said...

Long Haired Lady Rider:

So far, it looks like the leaves are only going to make one vine each; I think that's how it worked with the A. speciosus we did this to at work. And of course it might not end up being that much, even, since only one leaf out of six has grown anything yet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for recording your observations for the benefit of all. I often come across your blog when I'm searching for specific plant info online. I just stuck my stem cuttings, but stuck a few leaves in just to see if it will work for me too.